For many of us, kayak fishing is our favorite hobby. There’s nothing better than enjoying a nice day in your kayak while casting the bait. Of course, you always hope to catch some fish too. Adding a fish finder to your kayak fishing rig can make a huge difference in the outcome.
A fish finder is an awesome device that allows you to see the fish that are swimming under and around your kayak. This way you know where to go to potentially make a bigger catch. On top of this, the best kayak fish finders allow you to see the type of fish, bottom configuration, and have GPS to make navigation easier.
To help you find the perfect fish finder for your kayak, we have created a buying guide that breaks down all of the features and explains them in detail. Additionally, the fantastic kayak fish finders on our list will make sure you never go home empty-handed, so don’t miss out.
How to Choose The Best Fish Finder For Kayaks – Buying Guide
Size: Good screen size allows you to easily read the information on your fishfinder. Fishfinder screens sizes range from 3 to upwards of 6 inches (diagonal) with the best kayak fish finders usually measuring between 4 and 5 inches. A display 4 inches or larger is usually enough to see the fish clearly.
Resolution: In addition to size, the display resolution is equally important. Screen resolution is measured by the amount of dots they contain (pixels), much like that of a tv or a smartphone.
We don’t recommend getting a display lower than 320 x 240, as the detail won’t be high enough. Going above this mark will allow you to see the outline of fish even when the sun is bright.
Color vs Black/White: Almost all modern fish finders are equipped with colored screens. Compared to monochrome, these show much more detail, giving you a better idea of what’s going on in the water. When you’re in dark overcast conditions or experiencing intense glare, colored screens are far easier to read.
The transducer is an essential part of every fish finder – it emits the sound waves and picks up the echoes, allowing the device to show you where the fish are.
Frequency: Measured in kilohertz (kHz), the frequency of a shallow-water fish finder ranges from 50 to 100 kHz, while a deep water fish finder uses frequencies around 200 kHz.
Power: The fish finder power determines how efficient it is in sending and picking up signals. A more powerful device will emit stronger signals which are great for kayak fishing in deeper water.
Cone Angles & Beams
Cone angles refer to the imaging angle (cone) the finder can show. Depending on the cone width, this is also known as down and side imaging.
Down imaging: The sonar uses a narrow-angle and reads what’s directly underneath the boat. This type is better for kayak fishing in deeper waters because the wave travels farther.
Side imaging: The sonar uses a wide-angle that shows what’s on the sides of the boat. While these waves won’t go very deep, they are great for showing what’s around you which is a plus for fishing in shallow water.
Before buying a fish finder, think about the depth you’ll be fishing in because not all models can be used in deep waters. With this said, fish finders that use a dual-frequency are generally great for deeper conditions. For example, a 77/200kHz finder will use the 77 for shallow waters and 200 kHz when it needs an extended range.
3D Sonar: Instead of a grainy set of dots on the display, a 3D sonar shows a detailed view of the area under you. It will allow you to see the slope of the floor and even the plant life in great detail.
GPS: GPS navigation is always a nice feature to have. Some manufacturers even combine it with pre-loaded maps that allow you to create waypoints and fully plan your kayak fishing route.
CHIRP: A model equipped with the Compressed High-Intensity Radar Pulse (CHIRP) technology is going to give a superior image compared to standard transducers.
It makes sense that more powerful devices with larger screens require more power to operate. Luckily, the best kayak fish finders often have built-in batteries that last upwards of 10 hours.
A fish finder with a rechargeable battery is probably the most convenient. When they run out of juice, simply plug them into an outlet and you’re good to go. Alternatively, some portable fish finders use different types of disposable batteries. These batteries last much longer than small rechargeable options, but you have to buy new ones once they’re drained.
Q: How Does A Fish Finder Work On A Kayak?
A fish finder uses a sonar (sound waves) to determine where the fish are. Essentially, the transducer emits sound waves and then picks up the echo. This allows the device to determine where objects are, based on how long the signal takes to get back to the starting point.
Q: Where To Mount Fish Finder On A Kayak?
The fish finder unit should be mounted within arms reach, which is why most kayak anglers choose to mount it on the side of the kayak. While putting it on the nose is perhaps easier to read, operating it is going to be harder.
Q: Do I Need A Kayak Fish Finder With GPS?
While you don’t absolutely need it, having a GPS-enabled fish finder is great. It allows you to see your exact position and where the fish are relative to you. Seeing a map and your location on the display makes navigating the water much easier, especially in low-light conditions.
Q: Are Fish Finders Waterproof?
Most fish finders are water-resistant, but not waterproof. It means that they are perfectly safe to get splashed on all day, but that you shouldn’t submerge them in water.
Q: What To Look For In A Fish Finder?
The main features to look for are good screen size, resolution, transducer power, and frequency. This covers the basics of showing a reliable image on your device. On top of this, going with a multi-angle sonar will expand your kayak fishing range to both shallow and deep water.
Globo Surf Overview
A fish finder can make all the difference when trying to catch some fish in your kayak. Instead of guessing, this great device will show you exactly where the fish are. Hopefully, our guide and reviews have helped you figure out which are the best kayak fish finders, so you can always count on the best catch.